As seems the case with a lot of new artists these days, it feels like they just fall out of nowhere – from the sky – and suddenly everyone is talking about them. In reality, that’s not quite how it happens and it’s important to get the backstory behind our new favourite artists… which is exactly what we’ve done with Welsh wonder, BETSY.
So far, she’s only done a handful of gigs and has somewhat been thrown in the deep end, coming from a background solely of open mic nights and now performing to crowds ranging from 50 to 200: “It’s a learning curve, but luckily all the girls are superb musicians, so that calms me down, because they’re all so talented.”
From Pembrokeshire, Betsy’s story so far has been quite the inspirational one: “My parents were farmers and I’ve always liked music and art, but understandably my family were quite keen that I had a backup plan, because even if you’re somewhere like London… how do you get into the music industry?! Once you’re in it’s fine, but when you’re on the outside, it seems impossible.”
So diverging slightly from the path of music, Betsy began studying fashion at St Martin’s, only to be offered a job in Paris with a top fashion company: “It was a really good opportunity, but when I was there I was trying to come back for open mic nights and trying to write, but like with anything, if you want to do it properly you have to really focus on it… and it was sort of eating away at me that I wasn’t doing music.” So, off she went back to Pembrokeshire, where she put together a very rough demo on Garageband.
“I made loads and sent it to everybody, I found a yellow pages of the music industry – I’m sure they’re all fake – and nobody ever replied” But, all was not lost for our Welsh Queen, having passed on her demo to her friend, whose brother just so happened to work at a PR company in London where one of her now managers walked in asking for a singer for a band he’d begun managing.
Following the gain of her new manager, she was sent away with a bit of money and told to write, so secluding herself in her brothers caravan (that you might just recognise, as it features in all her press shots and videos), she did just that: “It was filthy, cold and horrible, but I wrote a giant body of work, one of them was ‘Lost and Found’ one was ‘Wanted More’ and from those demos I got the record deals that I have today.” Quite an astounding series of events based on a little bit of luck, and a lot of talent, focus and drive.
“I was really focussed on doing it and being given this one opportunity, it gave me such a drive to do it, it was like if I don’t do this now and make a real impact, then it won’t ever happen.”
Since then, she’s certainly come a long way from being stuck outside of the music industry, now with a solid group of industry friends who have actually formed the collective SWEAT, comprised of producers, animators, photographers, mix engineers and of course musicians such as Betsy, Lao Ra, BiLLLy and Lover: “SWEAT is our collective, it’s really exciting to see everyone doing well at the same time, we just kinda met and we’ve dipped into each other’s work in some way, so we were naturally doing that anyway, so we just thought we should make it official.”
Her grand entrance into the music industry and performing live hasn’t been as glitz and glam as we know that she is, though, “Sometimes you’re in the loo and people who are coming to see you are walking past you as you’re doing your makeup, one day I dream of a dressing room” she says, laughing.
What’s most admirable about Betsy is her involvement in all aspects of her material, from the writing to the music videos: “I come up with the ideas for my videos, I kind of co-direct them, I storyboard them and make sure that everyone’s on the same page, I’m kind of very involved with everything and luckily both my record companies are very keen for my involvement, because I have such a clear idea of what I want.”
One of the most notable aspects of Betsy’s music, is the inclusion of strings, adding an extra layer to her already very emotive and powerful tracks: “They’re just so lush and rich, I’ve got a big thing about being able to feel emotion from music and strings do that for me.”
Betsy has had an incredible journey so far and it doesn’t seem like it’s about to slow down anytime soon, so, keep your eyes and ears out for her in the coming months and in the mean time watch the video for her new track ‘Wanted More’, which she describes as “like my last video, but on crack”.